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David Brooks Plumbs New Depths Of Victim Shaming

According to the esteemed New York Times columnist and expert on humility, one not only needs to lead a  perfect life but also needs an impeccable pedigree to expect any kind of fair treatment at the hands of police or other authorities. In the case of  Freddie Gray, the most recent victim of police brutality in the news, Brooks puts both Mr. Gray and his mother on trial in his latest column.

Despite all these efforts, there are too many young men leading lives like the one Gray led. He was apparently a kind-hearted, respectful, popular man, but he was not on the path to upward mobility. He won a settlement for lead paint poisoning. According to The Washington Post, his mother was a heroin addict who, in a deposition, said she couldn’t read. In one court filing, it was reported that Gray was four grade levels behind in reading. He was arrested more than a dozen times.


How is this even relevant? Mr. Gray may or may not have been an angel and had an ideal childhood but how does that excuse what happened to him. I wonder if  Mr. Humility come down so hard on Bush II’s youthful alcohol related shenanigans? Did he blame the former First Lady and the President for their parenting skills or the lack thereof?

Tom Friedman Loves Himself A Strong Man

Tom Friedman loves himself a dictator, especially the kind that makes the trains run on time and is super efficient.

After World War II, Asia was ruled by many autocrats who essentially came to their people and said, “My people, we’re going to take away your freedom, but we’re going to give you the best education, infrastructure and export-led growth policies money can buy. And eventually you’ll build a big middle class and win your freedom.”

So he is all fine and dandy with Asia’s strongmen, including the Chinese ones. Hey, what’s a few million dead here and there, for the price of being a manufacturing hub to the rest of the world.

He pays his respects to the Singapore strong man Lee Kuan Yew:

Asian autocrats tended to be modernizers, like Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, who just died last week at 91 — and you see the results today: Singaporeans waiting in line for 10 hours to pay last respects to a man who vaulted them from nothing into the global middle class.

He finds it quaint that Chinese pre-schoolers are worried about College admissions.

Although Chinese, mathematics and English are supposed to be taught to primary school students, it is not uncommon to see pre-school-age children across China being forced to study these subjects.” The essay went on to explain why it wasn’t healthy to “begin preparing for the college entrance exam” in preschool.

What a problem to have! Kindergartens teaching math and English too soon.

What an idiot! He has no idea what is like to been a rat race, to scramble to be a part of the middle class, the pressure one is under to succeed even as a child, to land a coveted spot in one of the ultra competitive institutions of higher learning.

I know a little bit, what it is like in the India, the pressure for teens feel when they are taking the state level grade 10  and grade 12 exams.  Usually in the week after the results are declared, there are usually reports of attempted and successful suicides of children. It is beyond sad to read about a fourteen old feeling so much despair that they feel like ending it all. Only because they have fallen short of the scores required to get into the college of their choice.  I wonder if  MoU finds that quaint as well.

The Great Dictator

By two_kittehs (Picture by: SWNS)

Joe Nocera Is Concerned

The story is depressingly familiar, a business that has been bleeding red ink for years, changes hands.   The new owner brings in new management to run the shop.  Management buzzwords are thrown around.  A major round of cost cutting follows.  Usually that involves firing old employees, assigning the remaining ones more duties, without any raises for the rank and file but a big fat bonus for the new CEO and upper management.
Hardly newsworthy material, one would think? Especially when the said business, has a consumer base of less than 50,000. However you would be wrong.

When the business in question is a magazine with a storied past, it is the subject of numerous opinion columns  in many national news outlets of repute.  The opinion writers who regularly write columns extolling the virtues of cut throat capitalism are not so sanguine when it affects them at a personal level.

Joe Nocera of the NYT devoted an entire column yesterday, to discuss this storm in a tea cup, details here. How dare some tech guy tell esteemed Beltway Pundits how to do their job? I mean, they are hardly  public school teachers, who Joe Nocera and every other Pundit worth his salt has no problem lecturing on about the same. After all TNR, performs the  vital job of introducing ugly right racist memes to polite discourse.
Good old Joe, is appalled that his esteemed colleagues at the TNR have to become click whores now, oh the humanity!

The New Republic’s business executives were trying to get the editors to do things that would attract more clicks. One executive suggested that Michael Kinsley — a former New Republic editor himself — come up with a listicle, à la BuzzFeed. (“10 reasons why health care isn’t a free market.”)


I wonder what NYT’s financials are like? Are they ripe for takeover by some tech Moghul?

Since I am not a TNR writer, obligatory click bait, Kitteh!

And filed away under I could care less

By two_kittehs

Should the Fed tackle Income Inequality?

That is the question, the daily NYT trollfest, also known as Room for Debate, addressed yesterday. The Fed has two mandates, keeping the inflation in check and decreasing unemployment. Unfortunately for us, since the late 70s the Fed has taken its inflation mandate far more seriously than the unemployment one. Since inflation has not been a serious problem since the 70s, it is high time that the Fed addressed its neglected mandate. Doing so would go a long way in addressing the income inequality issue.

Our economy is consumer driven, so rising income equality shrinks the economy, because people have to  spend most of their income on necessities, leaving little for anything else.  Fed’s investor driven policies haven’t been particularly beneficial to the wellbeing  of the average consumer.  The rising tide hasn’t lifted all the boats, as promised.

Of all the respondents, I found Joseph Stiglitz’s answer most pertinent while Michael Strain,strained my credulity.  According to Strain, Fed should not address inequality because it is a partisan issue.  At least, he is honest, one party does not want to address issues that concern the 99%.

Well, who are you going to believe, a Nobel Laureate in economics or the resident scholar, at the American Enterprise Institute? One who David Brooks approvingly quotes and  has zero publications or citations in Google Scholar, that I could find.

Your thoughts?

You has questions; Econ Cat has answers

You has questions Econ Cat has answers

By two_kittehs